Compare 2 press reports. Essentialism when people act as if things have an essence - that makes those things what they are. The essence that ‘is given to them’ constrains or generates properties.
(e.g. belief that someone is bad in essence, put in
category ‘bad’, induce they will behave badly even if
bear no resemblance to other ‘bad’ people)
Task: find a rule that could be used to classify the drawings and new examples.
3 groups of participants (conceptual properties):
Group 1 told one set drawn by city children & the other set by farm children.
Group 2 done by creative & non-creative children
Group 3 done by emotionally disturbed &
emotionally normal children
rule given: “more profiles, more elaborate, clothes in more
Detail showing pockets & buttons, hair drawn. Less
emphasis on proportion”
rule given: “ draw what they see from normal life,
have overalls on & show body muscle from labour.
Drawings show more detail, one shows facial detail, another
coloured the clothes and another showed the body below
Rules consisted of a general assertion coupled with an
operational definition or exemplars across levels of
abstraction to illustrate the assertion.
been due to the lack of low-level perceptual features to
distinguish the 2 sets of drawings.
Drawings were presented one by one and people were
asked to give the rule after each exemplar.
If there was no low-level perceptual distinctions,
simple rules would not be possible and there would be a
systematic increase in multi-level descriptions.
However a multi-level description was given for the
first exemplar drawing.
Multiple-level descriptions result from a strategy of
trying to FIT ‘ideas’ to the ‘details of the actual
properties. Included high level inclusive category descriptions
and lower level discriminating descriptions.
When features are ambiguous - labelling effects the description
e.g. same drawing, different label:
Mentally healthy ‘all faces are smiling’
Non-creative‘ faces show little variation in expression’!